Thursday, August 20, 2009


Michael Steele is the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. That's a rather prominent position, given that the Republican Party is ostensibly the sole opposition party right now in America. Unfortunately, Mr Steele has taken this opportunity to be the voice of reasoned dissent and decided it would be better to act like an irrational buffoon as much as possible. This week he refused to condemn Sarah Palin's discredited accusations of there being "death panels" tucked into the depths of the health care reform bill. Instead he had this to say (from Carol Lee at Politico):
Steele said he does not regret that Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich raised the “death panel” issue.

“Some characterize it as unfortunate. Others characterize it as a reflection of what they think and what they feel,” Steele said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “That comes from some place and is something that’s out there in the grassroots of America, not just Republicans.”

Asked if he thinks there is a “death panel” provision in the bill – a suggestion that has been proven untrue and that the White House has spent a week trying to knock down – Steele said he does not know.

“It may or may not be. I don’t know. We don’t know what the bill is,” Steele said. “But there’s clearly an attempt by at least the House members to put in place a structure that causes concern for the American people in respect to end of life decisions. I think that’s a legitimate point. You don’t have to call it death panels if you don’t want to. You can call it a panel. I call it rationing.”

In other words, who cares about the actual validity of the claim that HR 3200 will implement the creation of "death panels" to deny care to kids with Down's Syndrome. Whether they exist or not is irrelevant. Instead, he focuses on the fear that some people (real Americans?) have that maybe, according to various rumors, just maybe there might a possibility that Obama is looking to pull the plug on granny. And this is straight out of the Rovian GOP playbook; exploit the fears and insecurities of average Americans for the maximum political benefit. It's so cynical and debased, but illustrative of the pandering that has destroyed the legitimacy of the GOP over the past decade....


Marcus said...

There is Palin, and there is Palin.

Arguably, the whole "death panel" spin is amplified and substantiated - over one remark on FaceBook - first by media and then by those intended to exploit the point.

Now that the reform bill seems to be going nowhere, i'm amazed by how politically charged everything, and anything, can be in America.

Andrew_M_Garland said...


"Death Panels" may be an exaggeration, but is the fear just made up? I see the following question as central: Is it reasonable to believe that "a new federal panel of medical experts on 'what treatments work best'" will save enough money to make a big difference? If not, then the savings have to come from denying some treatments.

That may be rational and cost effective. But, wouldn't that panel be making life and death decisions? Making them sometimes for people who could personally pay for the treatments?

Via JustOneMinute

NYTimes - A Basis Is Seen for Some Health Plan Fears Among the Elderly

=== quote ===
White House officials say the fears of older Americans about possible rationing of health care are based on myths and falsehoods. But Medicare beneficiaries and insurance counselors say the concerns are not entirely irrational.

Bills now in Congress would squeeze savings out of Medicare, a lifeline for the elderly, on the assumption that doctors and hospitals can be more efficient.

President Obama has sold health care legislation as a way to slow the growth of federal health spending, regulate the insurance market, and cover the uninsured.

Mr. Obama has said Medicare and private insurers could improve care and save money by following advice from a new federal panel of medical experts on “what treatments work best.”

The zeal for cutting health costs, combined with proposals to compare the effectiveness of various treatments, and to counsel seniors on end-of-life care, may explain why some people think the legislation is about rationing,
=== /quote ===

Anonymous said...

"Top 5 Lies in Healthcare Debate"